The Unseen Forest: Three Photographers

The Unseen Forest
October 15-December 6, 2020
Featuring the Work of
Nydia Blas, Jaclyn Kolev Brown, and Aaron Hardin
Curated by Alex Christopher Williams

Exhibition and Events at ATHICA:

On display starting October 15, 2020: The Unseen Forest, an exhibition curated by Atlanta-based artist/curator Alex Christopher Williams and featuring the images of three photographers working in the south: Nydia Blas, Jaclyn Kolev Brown, and Aaron Hardin.

The selected works of these accomplished photographers emphasize the humanity of the individual over the historical tropes and attitudes understood as being inescapably negative characteristics of the region known as “The South.”

Curator Williams reflects that “The South is famously known for images of inequity, segregation, hatred, and even worse, immortal symbols of violence that still populate our media today. What does it mean to be Southern? Where do the lines start and begin? What about Florida? The mysterious ever-eluding nature of geopolitical identities isn’t a new academic practice; however, how we choose what parts of our collective identity to celebrate has begun to shift. State flags are changing, Confederate monuments are being removed, and lawn signs are decorating entire neighborhoods with slogans of solidarity. What magic spell has been cast upon us that has finally allowed for growth and honest reflection?”

The three artists whose work is in the exhibition are currently based in Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee. However, they have diverse backgrounds and sensibilities.

View Online Catalog:

Nydia Blas, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up in upstate New York. Her work addresses matters of sexuality, intimacy, and her lived experience as a girl, woman, and mother through a Black feminine lens. Blas states: “The result is an environment that is dependent upon the belief that in order to maintain resiliency, a magical outlook is necessary.”

Jaclyn Kolev Brown of Richmond, Virginia teaches photography at Virginia Commonwealth University. A native of Virginia, Brown comments about her work in the exhibition that “[M]y connection to the south was (in a way) the impetus of the work I’ve been making lately. That impetus was my struggle with my Southern Baptist Christian religion that I grew up in and have since taken a step back from. The work simply wouldn’t exist without this connection.”

Aaron Hardin of Jackson, Tennessee began his career as a photojournalist for The Jackson Sun in 2009 and is currently the Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at Union University. His works on exhibition document in part his pandemic experience with his family and how their emergence from lock-down resurrected his awareness of the power of nature. He states: ” Blinded by the hubris of technological advancement, wealth, and the illusion of stability, I forget how vulnerable I am to the natural world.”

The Unseen Forest is sponsored in part by The James E. and Betty J. Huffer Foundation and the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts.

More About the Curator
Alex Christopher Williams is a photographer / curator and runs a project called Minor League, an artists-run project space in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in Ohio and raised in the American South. He received his MFA in Photography from the University of Hartford and his BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design. His work has been previously shown at Silver Eye, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Safe House Black History Museum, Wish Gallery, MINT, whitespec, Con Artist Collective, and C/O Berlin. His work is held by the High Museum, Savannah College of Art and Design, and private collections. More information can be found at: |

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